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Ms. TITUS. Thank you very much for recognizing me. And thank you, Congresswoman Fudge, for bringing this issue to the attention of the country. We certainly need to be talking about it, and I appreciate bringing the Nevada perspective to the discussion. Extending these unemployment benefits is critical to the constituents in southern Nevada.
I represent the most populous district in the country. There are 1 million people in the district compared to about 650,000 in most districts. We also have the highest unemployment rate in the country and the highest foreclosure rate, so it's a lot of people with a lot of problems. And we just heard today some rather dismal news that that rate is continuing to climb. Now the unemployment rate in southern Nevada is over 14 percent--it's probably higher than that, that's the official figure, and if you look at construction unemployment, I'm sure it's at least double that.
Our recovery lags behind the rest of the country because you have to have a job with money in your pocket in Iowa and Georgia and Vermont in order to be able to come to Las Vegas for a holiday.
The two economic main drivers in my State are tourism and construction, and they have been the hardest hit sectors during this recession. The fact is, many of these jobs are not going to come back right away. We know that already 38,000 people in Nevada have lost their benefits because of this Republican obstructionism that we've been talking about.
When I see Republicans stand in the way of this final extension of unemployment benefits and I hear them make statements that people are spoiled by unemployment benefits, or they aren't willing to take certain jobs, it just makes me angry. It makes me angry because nothing could be further from the truth, and it is an insult to the American people who are the hardest working people on this planet. These are the same people who build America, they keep it running, and they serve its citizens and its visitors every day.
We're talking about family members, friends, and neighbors who are worried and scared that their benefits will run out. They've got homes they can't afford to pay for, doctors they can't afford to see, children they can't afford to send to college now, and time they just cannot afford to waste.
Every weekend I'm in the district talking to people. We have housing workshops, Congress on the Corner. I'm just out in the district, and I repeatedly hear these same tragic stories from people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and they seem kind of at a loss of what to do. They can't really understand what's happening, and they cannot believe that the Republicans could be so cruel and insensitive to their needs. They have worked all their lives, they have paid their taxes, they have contributed to unemployment, they have followed the rules, and they just need a little bit of help right now, a little bridge until the economy turns around so they can get themselves back together. All they're asking for is just a little bit of help to kind of keep body and soul together until this economy turns around.
Just this weekend, I heard from one family, a young couple, Matt and his wife from Henderson, with their young children. They had worked very hard to get out of kind of a rough neighborhood, to move to a better area away from some gangs so their children could grow up in a safer environment, lost his job. We're trying to help him with a loan modification. If he can't get these unemployment benefits, he's not going to qualify for that loan modification, he's going to lose his house. He is worried to death that he may have to move into his car with his two small children. He is relying on these unemployment benefits just to help him scrape by just for a short time so he can make those payments and stay in that house so that his family will be safe.
Those are the kinds of stories that we hear, and that's why the opposition's obstructionism is just so insulting and so hard to believe and understand. We've got to stand up and fight for these people who are at the
risk of losing these important benefits.
It's bad enough that the Republican economic policies from the last administration, policies of lax regulation of Wall Street bankers, policies that incentivize companies to take jobs overseas, policies that gave tax breaks to the wealthy, the very wealthiest, but now won't help working people, it's a shame that those policies--and it's bad enough that they got us into the situation we're in now, but when those same people turn their back on the American folks who need a little help at this point, it's just unbelievable, it is disgraceful. I say to them, have you no shame? Have you no shame?
Thank you for letting me join you tonight.
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